LASIK, laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most popular refractive surgery available today. It has become the premier surgery for vision correction because it is quick and there is little or no discomfort after the procedure. Vision recovery is usually rapid and some patients already see 20/20 the following day.
LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With a special technique called monovision, it can also reduce the need for reading glasses among patients over age 40 who's near vision has become difficult.
Am I a Good Candidate for LASIK?
There are many factors that determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK, but you should be at least 21 years old, have healthy eyes, and have adequate corneal thickness. LASIK will correct your vision by removing tissue from your cornea to reshape your eye.
Chronic dry eye problems, corneal diseases, and other abnormalities may disqualify you from having LASIK surgery. In order to know for sure if you are a good candidate, a comprehensive eye exam is required. We are happy to provide free consultations for anyone interested in LASIK. To find out if you are a good candidate, please call our office at 512-255-7070 for your complimentary consultation.
There are many considerations when deciding whether or not to have LASIK. What are your expectations? Are you willing to accept a less than perfect outcome? LASIK can reduce your dependence and almost always give you the ability to function well without eyeglasses or contact lenses, but there are no guarantees. LASIK does not always create perfect vision. In some cases, your vision after LASIK may be permanently less clear than it was with eyeglasses or contact lenses before the procedure. You have to ask yourself if you are willing to accept the risk of such an outcome before you decide to have LASIK surgery. Remember, LASIK is an elective procedure, not a required one.
The LASIK Procedure
LASIK is an ambulatory procedure. You walk in the surgery center, have the procedure, and walk out again. The actual surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes, but expect to be at the surgery center for about two hours or more.
LASIK is a two-step procedure. In the first step, the surgeon creates a thin, hinged flap of tissue on your cornea with an instrument called a microkeratome or with a laser. After the flap is created, it is then folded back. The second step begins and involves the laser reshaping your eye. After the laser treatment, which usually takes less than a minute, the flap is repositioned and the surgeon moves on to your other eye.
What is Wavefront LASIK?
Wavefront LASIK or "custom" LASIK, means the laser treatment is determined by a computerized mapping of the power of your eye. This is called wavefront analysis. Wavefront procedures are more precise. The procedure can correct subtle optical imperfections of the eye called "higher-order aberrations" that regular laser treatments cannot. Several studies have shown that wavefront-guided ablations provide sharper vision than conventional, non-wavefront LASIK and may reduce the risk of nighttime glare and halos.
After LASIK Surgery
After the procedure, your surgeon or an assistant will apply medicated eye drops and clear protective shields over your eyes. You can open your eyes and see well enough to walk without glasses, but you must have someone drive you home.
You will be expected to use medicated eye drops several times a day for a week or so to protect your eyes from infection and help them heal properly. You will also be told to use artificial tears frequently to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
You should rest and not use your eyes much when you get home from surgery that day. You may also be more comfortable if the lights in your house are dimmed.
The following day, you should be seeing well enough to resume most activities. Be careful, however, not to rub your eyes until your eye doctor tells you it is safe to do so.
After your surgery and from this point on, your post-operative care may be performed by an eye doctor other than the LASIK surgeon. When your post-operative care is provided by an eye doctor other than the surgeon, it is called co-management. We are happy to provide you with the care and convenience of having your post-operative appointments at our office. We have successfully cared for hundreds of patients after their LASIK procedure.
Typically, you will be seen the day after surgery for your one day post-operative appointment. During this visit, your vision will be checked and your eyes will be evaluated to make sure they are healing properly. You will be given additional instructions on the use of your prescription eye drops, artificial tears, and then be scheduled for your next post-operative appointment.
What if My Vision is Still Blurry After LASIK?
Though most patients see quite clearly in a matter of days after LASIK, it can take several months before your eyes are completely stable. Until then, improvements in your vision can still occur. If several months have passed and your vision is still blurry, then an appointment with the LASIK surgeon may be needed. Sometimes a second LASIK surgery called an enhancement will need to be performed to sharpen your eyesight further.
If for some reason an enhancement is not indicated or desired, eyeglasses or contact lenses may help. We will be happy to examine your eyes and discuss the different options with you.
Eyewear After LASIK
Keep in mind that, even if your vision seems perfect after LASIK, you still need eyewear.
When outdoors, it is important to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. If you play sports when wearing sunglasses, make sure the lenses provide for extra protection. Any time you are working with power tools or doing anything else when an eye injury is possible, you should wear safety glasses.
If you are over 40, it is likely you will need reading glasses after LASIK. Also, many LASIK patients can benefit from a pair of prescription eyeglasses for night driving. Even though these lenses may have a mild prescription, they often can make your vision sharper for added safety and comfort.
Eye Care After LASIK
It is crucial to maintain your routine eye exams after LASIK. Even if your vision seems perfect, it is still recommended that your eyes be examined on a regular basis to ensure the health of your eyes, provide early detection of any vision threatening conditions or diseases, and to make sure your vision stays stable after LASIK. At Avery Ranch Eye Care, we are happy to serve all your eye care and eyewear needs after your LASIK surgery.